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I’ve come to the conclusion that at this time of year one may either resign oneself to the fact of pine needles scattered all over the house or one may run stark, raving mad.

UPDATE:  I had the above thought as I was replacing dried out sprigs and branches in our two Advent wreaths, a process that becomes necessary every year because the one we have in the dining room uses a nice brass base that can’t get too wet and the one the gels make at RFEC that lives in the kitchen simply gets neglected.

Since then, the youngest gel and I shlepped out to purchase the Port-swiller family Christmas tree.  For the most part, we tend to be fairly modest seasonal decorators.  A tree, a couple wreaths on the door, the Creche, the odd festive knick-knack – that’s pretty much it most years.   However, as I stood at the tree lot, I was suddenly seized with the odd desire to purchase a couple ropes of white pine and surprise Mrs. Robbo by decorating interior doorways and mantle-pieces, plus wrapping the columns on the portico out front.  Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, Robbo has been festooning.

So in a way, I am pursuing both the course of resignation and the course of madness.

But then, by now regular readers should be used to that.

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Regular port-swillers will probably have figured out by now my strong Anglophilic streak.   What some might not understand is what that term means – at least to me.  It certainly doesn’t mean a love for what G.B. actually is now – a crumpled, defeated, Socialist state on the verge of being absorbed into a caliphate.   Rayther, it’s a love of a particular set of idealized values associated with her history and culture.  Unrealistic? Perhaps.  But critical to keeping alive the flame of Western Civilization?  I certainly think so.

Well anyway, I bring all this up mostly to point out that there is one British tradition with which I will have no truck whatever, namely Christmas turkey.  As I believe I mentioned last month some time, I don’t really like turkey that much, thus making Thanksgiving dinner a fairly meh meal for me.  But celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior with anything other than a big, rare roast of beef, Yorkshire pudding and all their proper attendant goodies?

As Vizzini would say, “Inconceivable!”

This year the Port-swiller household is remaining at home for the holidays, with no extended family coming in from out of town.  As it turns out, some close friends of ours find themselves in the same situation.  When we discovered our mutual situation, they immediately invited us to come join them for Christmas dinner, which we plan to do.  Fortunately, they have exactly the same idea about the proper menu for the day.

UPDATE:  I suppose I have to confess that I did once enjoy a turkey dinner on Christmas.  I was eight years old at the time and it was a wild bird, not a store-bought domestic one.  Perhaps what made it particularly tasty in my memory was the fact that I had shot it myself.   (Can you imagine that nowadays?)  Pride is an excellent garnish, indeed.

I apologize if I’ve been a bit of a bore about the whole religion thing in my posting lately.  My bad for not changing the record more often.

Well, here’s a bit of a tune-changer:  Some time either earlier this school year or the end of last year – I really can’t recall when – the upper forms at St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method were told off to run a timed mile.  In that event, the eldest daughter clocked in at a shuffling, albeit not-quite-glacial, time of 10 minutes and change, finishing well back in the pack.

They ran the time trial again this week, and I’m happy to report that the gel finished second out of the whole group, coming in at 6 minutes and change.  Her next younger sister finished not very far behind her.

I happened to be at St. Marie of the BEM this afternoon, exchanging the Scylla of the annual office holiday party for the Charybdis of the school one, when somebody approached me to compliment me on the gel’s speed. “Yes, thanks,” I replied, “It’s amazing what can happen when they actually get off their lazy backsides and apply themselves.”

I must say in the gel’s defense that she was pretty durn pleased with herself as well.  Is it just possible that she’s finally learning something of the pleasure of real achievement?

The current forecast is for double-punch snow storms in Your Nation’s Capital, with the first dumping anywhere from 6 to 10 inches starting, well, tonight and the second rolling in Christmas Eve.

Keep talking, Al.  Keep talking……

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